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Gun & Knife Law Information

Airgun Laws

Airgun & Air Rifle shooting in the U.K. is governed by extremely strict firearms laws. These laws exist to prevent the misuse of airguns / air rifles and there are severe penalties for anyone who breaks them, even if they do so unintentionally. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that you are fully aware of the laws relating to the shooting of your airgun / air rifle and its ownership and comply with them.

What you should know about owning your airgun

You do not need a licence to own an air rifle or air pistol providing it is not capable of exceeding a certain power limit with any brand of airgun pellet. The power limit is set at 12 ft. lbs. for air rifles and 6 ft. lbs. for air pistols. It is your responsibility to maintain a legal power output if you have any doubts contact your local gun shop for advice. You may not possess an air rifle capable of exceeding the 12 ft. lbs. power limit unless you have a firearm certificate (FAC) which allows you to acquire it. You are prohibited from owning any air pistol that is capable of exceeding the 6 ft. lbs. power limit. You must be 18 years of age or older to buy an airgun or airgun ammunition. Between the ages of 14 and 18, you can be given an airgun as a gift, preferably by your parents. You cannot own an airgun if you are under 14 years of age. Any airgun (regardless of its power or classification) is considered a ‘firearm’ if it is used to commit a criminal offence, and simply possessing one when committing a criminal offence may greatly increase any sentence a court may award. Using an airgun to commit a crime carries prison sentences varying from three months to life, according to the seriousness of the offence.

What you should know about shooting your airgun

You can only take your airgun onto land over which you have permission to shoot, regardless of whether or not you intend to shoot it. If you trespass with your airgun, you are committing the offence of ‘armed trespass’, the maximum penalty for which is three months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of £2,500. If you are aged over 14 years, you can shoot without supervision providing you have permission to shoot over the land you are on. If you are aged under 14 years old, you can only shoot your airgun under the direct supervision of someone aged 21 years or older on private land. The supervisor is legally responsible for the actions of the person they are supervising and no pellet must go outside the boundaries of that private land. You can also use an airgun at Home Office-approved clubs or at a fairground shooting gallery for target shooting. You cannot shoot your airgun within 15 metres of a public highway if in doing so, you are causing a nuisance or endangering the public. Your airgun is considered ‘loaded’ if there is any form of projectile in the breech, regardless of whether or not the gun is cocked. If you are aged between 14 and 18 years old, you may only carry your unloaded air rifle (but not an air pistol) in a public place provided it is in a secure case which prevents it from being fired. You must be aged 18 years or older to carry an air pistol in a public place, even if it is in a securely fastened case. It is a serious offence to kill or injure any bird or protected animal with an airgun unless you are a person ‘authorised’ under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, 1981.

Special Notice to Parents

Parents wishing to buy an airgun for use by a person under 14 years of age must keep control of it at all times. You are committing an offence if you allow your child to shoot unsupervised, even on land where permission to shoot has been granted. You are committing an offence if you give an airgun or ammunition as a gift to a person aged under 14 years. Although a person aged between 14 and 18 years of age is allowed to shoot without supervision (on land where they have permission to shoot), it is highly recommended that you keep control of the airgun before and after the shooting session. It is preferable that no young person should have access to any airgun without prior permission being given by a parent or responsible adult. 

Safe Storage

Air weapons must not be stored where unauthorised people, particularly young people under the age of 18, might gain access to them. For example, use a lockable cupboard and keep the keys secure. Air weapons should be stored inside a house rather then in an outbuilding, such as a garden shed or garage. In most cases, it will be sufficient to store your air weapon in an existing, suitably robust, lockable cupboard-keeping the keys separate and secure. Alternatively, you could use a lock or locking device by which your air weapon can be attached to the fabric of a building, or to a fixed feature. Or you could use a security cord, lockable chain or similar device attached to a point of anchorage within the building.

Always treat an air weapon as though it were loaded.

Always point an air weapon in a safe direction, preferably at  the ground, and never at another person.

Never fire an air weapon unless you are certain that the shot is safe.

Never rely on a safety catch to make an air weapon safe. Such devices can fail.

Never put a loaded air weapon down. Always safely discharge or unload and uncock it first.

Never store or transport a loaded air weapon.

Air weapons should be stored out of sight and  separate from pellets.

• Air weapons should be covered, for example in a gun slip, when being transported.


Knife Law

Ronnie Sunshines has been a responsible knife seller for many years. We strive to follow developing knife laws as they are updated and refined. Whilst adhering to the letter of the law, we feel it is necessary to emphasise that our customers use the products they buy from us responsibly.

The following is a brief outline as to current law in the UK with reference to the legitimate use and carry of fixed and folding knives. Customers are reminded that they should be constantly aware as to their surroundings when using or carrying a knife, as even a `UK legal` knife can be regarded as a problem in certain surroundings. Similarly a `non legal` knife can be regarded as acceptable if legitimate use can be established. If you need a locking knife for a specific purpose, including for a collection, do not be put off. This document should not be regarded as binding in the eyes of the law or used as such. 

UK law states that any knife with a non-locking blade which is three inches or under in length is legal to carry in the UK. HOWEVER discretion is paramount. Take a knife into a pub, club, football ground or other such establishment and you should expect to be prosecuted. 

A fixed blade knife or locking folder of any length will require an explanation if carried. If you are unable to give `reasonable cause`or show that the knife was in use for a specific, legitimate purpose then prosecution could follow. It is the responsibility of the owner to illustrate that the knife is being used as a tool in the correct environment and at all other times be secured in a safe and discreet manner, such as tackle or tool box.

Switchblades, automatics or ‘flick-knives’, gravity knives, balisongs or ‘butterfly knives’, push daggers, belt buckle knives, sword canes, disguised knives, or knuckle-duster knives are all banned from sale in the UK. 

Stealth knives or `Airport Knives` were recently included into the banned list. A stealth knife is any knife which is not detectable by x-ray or metal detection. Antiques, collectables or other swords and knives of historical interest are allowable as long as `reasonable use` can be established.

Ronnie Sunshines refuses the sale of any knife to anyone aged under eighteen.

Shotgun Law

It is an offence (except in certain circumstances) to possess a shotgun without a current shotgun certificate or temporary police permit.

It is an offence to give or sell a shotgun to someone who is not authorised to possess it – usually by virtue of a shotgun certificate.

When acquiring a shotgun, you must inform the police force which issued your certificate by recorded delivery within seven days of the transfer. If you give or sell a shotgun to anyone, (or lend a gun for more than 72 hours) you must enter it on the other person’s certificate and also notify the police force which issued your own certificate by recorded delivery within seven days.

It is an offence to sell or offer for sale a shotgun, which is out of proof.

One certificate holder may borrow a shotgun from another for 72 hours or less without notifying the police, or entering the details onto the borrower’s certificate.

In most cases it is an offence to sell cartridges to someone without a shotgun certificate.

When not in use, shotguns must be stored securely, in order to prevent – so far as is reasonably practicable – access by unauthorised persons. When in use, reasonable precautions must be taken for their safe custody.

It is an offence to sell or hire a shotgun to someone under 18 years of age.

It is an offence for a person under the age of 15 to have with him or her an assembled shotgun except while under the supervision of a person of 21 or more, or while the shotgun is so covered with a securely fastened gun cover that it cannot be fired.

It is an offence to be in possession of a loaded shotgun in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.

The government has abolished the game licence in England, Wales and Scotland. It is an offence to shoot game on Sundays and Christmas Day in England and Wales.

In Scotland and certain counties in England and Wales it is an offence to shoot wildfowl on Sundays. Always check if you are unsure – never guess at what the law requires.

All birds and many animals are protected. There is an ‘open’ season for quarry species and it is an offence to kill or attempt to kill them at other times. Certain pest birds may be shot by authorised persons at any time under the open general licences issued annually by the devolved governments of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These are, as they say, ‘open’ and ‘general’; individuals do not need to carry or even hold a copy of the licences.

It is an offence to shoot wildfowl or game with a self-loading gun having a magazine capacity of more than two cartridges.

You may only lend a shotgun to someone without a certificate if you are with that person, on land of which you are legally the occupier OR if you are at a clay pigeon shoot where the chief constable has granted special permission to allow non-certificate holders to shoot.

Keep your shotgun secured – for preference in a purpose-built gun cabinet – when not in use. Ensure that no-one else has access to the keys – remember it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that unauthorised persons (which includes anyone who hasn’t got a shotgun certificate) do not have access to your guns. Store your shotgun ammunition separately from your guns. The law does not require you to keep shotgun cartridges secure; however, it is good practice to do so. They are best stored in a cool, dry place where inquisitive children cannot get hold of them.

When travelling in a vehicle, keep your guns and ammunition out of sight, preferably in the locked luggage compartment. It is preferable to keep the guns in their slips or cases. If you have to park your vehicle for any reason, park it where you can see it – if at all possible. The vehicle must be locked and any anti-theft devices set. It is a good idea to park in a manner that prevents easy access to the part of the vehicle containing your guns, such as backing the car very close to a wall to make it difficult for a thief to get at the boot.

Where possible, remove the fore-end of the shotgun and take it with you. There are also various security devices that can be used if necessary.


• Never shoot unless you are sure it is safe to do so.

• Always have the safety catch on ‘safe’ until the moment before you fire.

• Always bear in mind the possibility of a ricochet, particularly across water or off branches and vegetation.

• Never load a shotgun unless you are expecting a shot.

• Never travel with a loaded shotgun.

• Never put down a loaded shotgun or leave it unattended.

Never touch the triggers until you want to fire.

• Never attempt to shoot unless you are steady on your feet.

• Never keep a dog attached to yourself while shooting, it may pull you off balance.

• Never shoot unless you are certain of your target and can see it clearly.

• Never shoot at, or near, overhead power lines or insulators.


Airsoft Gun Law

Airsoft R.I.F & I.F ownership in the U.K. is governed by firearms laws under the 2006 Violent Crime Reduction Bill . It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that you are fully aware of the laws relating to the ownership and shooting of your Airsoft gun.

What you should know about purchasing Airsoft guns.

If the gun you wish to purchase is a realistic colour it is a R.I.F. Realistic Imitation Firearm and you must be 18 years of age or older and provide proof of UKARA United Kingdom Airsoft Retailers Association and or a skirmish site or re-enactors association membership which is covered by suitable third party liability insurance.

To acquire a skirmish site or UKARA membership  you must be a regular player at a game site, having attended 3 games in a period not less then 2 months and no longer then 12 months your local site will assist you with this.

If the imitation firearm you wish to purchase is mostly a bright or unrealistic colour, otherwise known as two toned or clear it is a I.F. Imitation Firearm you do not need to be a UKARA or game site member your just have to be 18 years of age or over.

What you should know about owning and shooting your R.I.F or I.F

Any Imitation Firearm should be treated as a real firearm at all times and always assume it is loaded and dangerous.

When travelling with a R.I.F or I.F it should be in a case/slip/bag/container, out of view from the public eye.

When transporting the R.I.F or I.F in a vehicle, it should be out of reach at all times. 

You must also have a valid reason for travelling with or transporting the  R.I.F or I.F

You can only take your R.I.F or I.F onto land which you have permission to shoot on.

If you trespass with your R.I.F or I.F you are committing the offence of “armed trespass”, the minimum penalty  is three months imprisonment and/or a fine of £2,500.

You must be aged 18 years or older to carry a R.I.F in public place. It is serious offence to shoot at any animal with a  R.I.F or I.F

Always store any R.I.F or I.F away from unauthorised people and away from the public view and stored inside a house, rather than in an outbuilding.

For more information on R.I.F & IF ownership visit:

All the information given on this leaflet is intended as a guide and is subject to change and interpretation. For full and further information please refer to the  Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 at

also see